Cartoonist and writer Alison Bechdel will discuss her groundbreaking memoir, Fun Home, the freshman common reading, October 7, 2014

Alison Bechdel’s groundbreaking graphic memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, was chosen as the freshman common reading for Vassar’s class of 2018. Traditionally the common reading’s author then presents the William Starr Lecture, and this year Bechdel will deliver the talk on Tuesday, October 7, 5:30 pm, in the Villard Room of Main Building. This event is free and open to the public.

The lecture is co-sponsored by the Dean of the Faculty, the Freshman Writing Seminar Program and the Vassar First Year Program.

Susan Zlotnick, Dean of Freshmen, said Fun Home was chosen as the common reading for the incoming class “because its subject matter speaks to the concerns of students making the transition to college.  As a coming-of-age and coming-out story, Fun Home is about becoming who one will be as an adult. Bechdel's memoir speaks to a broad range of concerns: it's about how one fabricates one's own identity in relationship to parents and siblings, to place and time, and to books.” 

Bechdel was recently a named a MacArthur Fellow, an honor commonly known as the "genius grant." She began writing, drawing, and self-syndicating the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For in 1983. The strip ran regularly in over fifty LGBT publications in North America and the United Kingdom. Many award-winning collections of Dykes were published in book form and translated into several languages. Ms. magazine called Dykes “one of the preeminent oeuvres in the comics genre, period.”

Bechdel gained wider recognition for her work with the 2006 publication of Fun Home. The book was a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist and was named Best Book of 2006 by Time magazine. Time called Fun Home and its investigation into her closeted bisexual father’s suicide “a masterpiece about two people who live in the same house but different worlds, and their mysterious debts to each other.”

After setting aside Dykes in 2008, Bechdel began devoting herself full-time to autobiographical work. She published a second graphic memoir, Are You My Mother: A Comic Drama, in 2012.

Bechdel edited Best American Comics 2011. She has drawn comics for Slate, McSweeney’s, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times Book Review, and Granta. She was also the recipient of a 2012-13 Guggenheim Fellowship.

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Posted by Office of Communications Wednesday, September 10, 2014